Global Engagement

The University of Mississippi – Office of Global Engagement

Information for Students with Remote/Online Schedules

Posted on: July 14th, 2020 by blair
  • Can I stay in the US and participate in remote study?
    • Based on the recent guidance from the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) for the fall 2020 semester, students who will study remotely cannot remain inside the US for the semester.
  • I am an incoming student who has transferred my SEVIS record from another school. I am currently in the U.S. Can I stay in my current city?
    • According to the recent SEVP guidance for the fall 2020 semester, students can only remain in the US if they will attend courses in person (fully in person or as part of a hybrid model). Students who will attend in person courses will need to be present in Nashville.
  • What will happen to my I-20 and my SEVIS record during the remote period?
    • The 07/07/2020 update to the SEVP FAQ confirms that current students who will study remotely from outside the US during the fall may remain active in SEVIS. The guidance does not directly confirm that students in this situation will continue to maintain F-1 status.  Students who plan to maintain an active SEVIS record during remote study should enroll in a full-time course load.
  • Can I use my I-20 and F-1 visa to enter the US periodically during the remote semester?
    • The current guidance indicates that only students who are participating in hybrid or in person courses will be allowed to enter the US in F-1 status during the fall 2020 term.
  • Will I need to do anything with ISSS to return to in person study?
    • Depending on the directions SEVP provides for schools, students who will study remotely during the fall semester, may need a new I-20 to return to Vanderbilt in the spring. If so, ISSS will communicate the process for requesting an updated I-20 in early fall.
    • Incoming students who have chosen remote study will need an updated I-20 prior to departure for the US. The SEVIS ID on the initial I-20 that was sent to you will not change, however we will update your session dates in your SEVIS record. Updated I-20s for incoming students who will start remotely for the fall semester and attend in person for the spring will be processed in September. Students should be sure that they have followed the process for their school or program to select remote study.
  • Will I need to apply for a new visa stamp in my passport?
    • Students who have an F-1 visa stamp in their passport that will remain valid beyond the end of 2020 may be required to renew the visa stamp before returning to the US in the spring. ISSS needs additional clarification from SEVP to fully answer this question.
  • I am an incoming student and I have chosen remote study. I paid the SEVIS I-901 fee already. Will I need to pay it again?
    • If your SEVIS ID number will remain the same, your SEVIS I-901 Fee payment should remain valid. You will need an updated I-20 that reflects your new in person start date before entering the US. ISSS will issue updated I-20 documents in September for incoming students who will enter in the spring.
    • If you paid the SEVIS I-901 Fee, and you have entered the US but have now chosen to study remotely, under the current guidance, you cannot remain in the US during the fall semester. In this case, SEVP has confirmed there will be no refunds of the SEVIS I-901 fee.
  • I was planning to do an internship this fall. Can I still participate in this if I am studying remotely?
    • SEVP guidance has only allowed schools to authorize Curricular Practical Training for remote participation during the spring and summer semesters. There are currently no provisions for remote employment authorization included in the fall 2020 guidance.
  • Do I need a travel signature?
    • Continuing students with an active SEVIS record who are entering the US will need a valid travel signature on their I-20 or DS-2019 to enter the US. In the event that students will need a new initial document to return to the US, no travel signature is required for initial documents.
  • Fall 2020 will be my final semester. If I complete it remotely, will I still be eligible for OPT?
    • Additional clarification from USCIS and SEVP is needed to fully answer this question. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) policies require an applicant to be present in the US at the time an OPT application is filed. The regulatory filing window for OPT combined with the SEVP guidance on entry to the US for fully online students is not compatible with the scenario of completing a program online from abroad. If standard policies and regulations apply, students who finish their program remotely may not be eligible to apply for post-completion OPT.
  • I am planning to graduate in Spring 2021, will I still be eligible to apply for OPT when I return in the spring?
    • Eligibility for Optional Practical Training requires that an F-1 student has accumulated an academic year in full-time status. While the updated FAQ confirms that a student’s SEVIS record can remain in Active status, SEVP’s fall 2020 guidance does not directly address the maintenance of F-1 status for continuing students who will be remote and outside of the US during the fall. It is possible that students in this situation will not be able to continue F-1 status while abroad. ISSS is waiting for further clarification from SEVP on this issue.
  • Do I need to take a full-time course load because I am an F-1/J-1 student?
    • Under the standard federal regulations, full-time enrollment is required for F-1 students attending school inside the US as one of the primary means for maintaining F-1 status. While SEVP has confirmed that F-1 students who study remotely during the fall semester can remain active in SEVIS, it is not clear whether F-1 status will continue during the remote study period. In the event that remote students located abroad cannot maintain F-1 status during the period of remote study, full-time enrollment requirements will not apply. However, students should keep in mind that if F-1 status will continue, full-time enrollment is a status requirement.